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Europe

Launch of the Vision Zero Fund in Myanmar

Global prevention fund aims to strengthen occupational safety and health in producing countries

At an international conference held in Yangon, Myanmar, on 17 June 2016, Yasmin Fahimi, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, will launch the "Vision Zero Fund", a global prevention fund. The Fund aims to support projects at production sites abroad, helping to establish labour inspectorates, public structures for safety and health at the workplace, accident insurance schemes and sustainable initiatives at the company level. Myanmar is the first pilot country. At the initiative of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the G7 Heads of State and Government decided to set up the Vision Zero Fund when they met in Elmau in 2015 during Germany's G7 Presidency. The International Labour Organization (ILO) will support the implementation of the Fund's projects. Initially, the Fund will have a volume of 8 million US dollars committed by the German government, the US government and the European Commission.

Ahead of her trip to Myanmar, State Secretary Yasmin Fahimi stated:

In order to receive support from the Vision Zero Fund, all of a country's stakeholders have to take their share of responsibility, expressly committing to achieving progress on occupational safety and health. All of these stakeholders must agree on the Fund’s specific projects. Ownership and commitment are key. We are delighted that Myanmar will be the first pilot country to benefit from the Vision Zero Fund, enabling the country to improve the protection of its workers. This is also a message to producing countries like Myanmar signalling that as an export country we are stepping up to our responsibility for the overall supply chain.

H.E. U Thein Swe, Myanmar's Minister of Labour, Immigration and Population, explained:

The Vision Zero Fund is a very important global initiative because its offers concrete support on a key issue. Myanmar is already doing a lot to boost occupational safety and health. The Fund can provide vital support for these activities, making sure they produce lasting effects. All stakeholders stand to gain from this, above all workers but also private businesses. That is why we will work hard to promote social dialogue and to bring all partners to the table so as to be able to cooperate effectively going forward.

The conference on 17 June 2016 will be attended by high-ranking representatives of Myanmar's government, by governments of advanced economies, international organisations, civil society, trade unions and representatives of international and national companies. It will be co-hosted by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Myanmar's Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, the European Commission, the U.S. Department of Labor, the ILO and the Asia office of the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation.

Background:

The Vision Zero Fund aims to bring about enhanced occupational safety and health along global supply chains and wants to raise general awareness for this issue. Since the collapse of the Rana Plaza textile factory in April 2013 at the latest, the world has known about the poor working conditions of garment workers and also about those of workers employed in other sectors of the economies of producing countries: buildings at risk of collapse, toxic chemicals, low wages and usually no social protection. The ILO estimates that 2.3 million workers die each year as a result of work-related diseases or accidents. Another 160 million suffer from work-related diseases and yet another 313 million have sustained severe injuries at work. This does not only have a human rights dimension but it also clearly hurts countries' economies, reducing global output by 4 percent annually.

Event information:

Opening of the international conference launching the "Vision Zero Fund": 17 June 2016 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon, Ballroom I, No. 40 Natmauk Road, Tamwe Township, Rangun, Myanmar

Contact in Myanmar: Konstantin Bärwaldt (Friedrich-Ebert Foundation): +95 (0) 9 420 080 046

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